Vehicle cloning is a growing trend caused by creative car thieves looking to take advantage of rising used-car sales. Close to 4 million used cars were purchased in the U.S. in May, a 23 percent increase from April, versus a 34 percent drop in new car sales over the same period, according to CNW Marketing Research, which tracks such sales. These auto thieves take vehicle identification numbers (Vin#), from legal vehicles, create counterfeit labels and apply them to stolen vehicles, eliminating any easy possibility of tracing the stolen ride.
For not more than $2,000, cloning rings can use a color printer, bar code label printer, computer,typewriter,rotary tool and engraving pen to counterfeit a vehicle's identification numbers, stickers, labels and titles. Sophisticated cloning operations are capable of producing vehicle clones that are virtually undetectable by untrained auto theft investigators and consumers.
In a challenging economy people young and old are looking for ways to buy and save on automobiles at government auctions. Monthly across the U.S., thousands of vehicles are seized by different Police Departments and Government agencies (IRS, DEA, FBI) then auctioned off to the public. Due to certain laws these vehicles are listed and sold at up to 90% OFF their original value. Many auctions may start at $100.
Car auctions involving Police and Government seized property don't advertise extensively, so it can be quite a challenge to know exactly when and where they are taking place. Sometimes small adverts for these auctions will appear in the legal newspapers and other general papers, but you would need to check the press every day or you might miss them. It is because there is no widespread advertising of these government auctions that you can save a lot off the normal price of a car. Asset auctions can also be conducted at the same time, including seized homes and property, so it can prove useful to know when and where these auctions are.
Cloned vehicles can still slip through the auction screening process so buyer beware still applies. These are a few tips to assist you in participating in this way of get an automobile at a low or less than market value price. You can also apply these tips in your normal vehicle purchase search in non auction situations:
1. Check the vehicle's vin# with appropriate government agencies. The National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) is an electronic system that gives consumers valuable information about a vehicle's condition and history. Prior to purchasing a vehicle, NMVTIS allows consumers to find information on the vehicle's title, most recent odometer reading, brand history, and, in some cases, historical theft data. Alot of states are still not particpating is this federal database program but all states will on January 1, 2010. Visit Auto Data Direct, Inc (add123.com) or Carco Group, Inc (autotitleinfo.com). You can also do a check with Carfax and AutoCheck for free Vin# checks.
2. Any determination that the vehicle is "salvage" by an insurance company or a self-insuring company including those vehicles determined to be a total loss.
3. Any reports of the vehicle being transferred or sold to an auto recycler, junk yard, or salvage yard.
4. Trust your instincts, if your deal sounds too good to be true, just walk away.
Everyone wants to buy and save on a car purchase by buying property at less than market value. However, it can be well worth your time to join an online government auction website that organizes all the details of government auctions for you. It may cost as much as fifty dollars for as a member to join such auction sites but this will help you cut down on your needed research activities.